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NFL roundup: Ravens' Rice indicted on aggravated assault charge

The SportsXchange

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was indicted by a grand jury on a third-degree aggravated assault charge for allegedly striking his fiancee unconscious last month, Atlantic County, N.J., prosecutors announced Thursday.

Rice was arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence on Feb. 15 after a physical altercation with his fiancee, Janay Palmer, at the Revel Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City. Palmer also was charged with simple assault. The simple assault-domestic violence charge against Palmer was dismissed.

Prosecutors took the case to a grand jury, which returned a more serious charge of aggravated assault. The charge carries a potential penalty of three to five years in prison, officials said.

"This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident," the Ravens said in a team statement.

---The New England Patriots reached an agreement Thursday with mainstay defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on a three-year, $22.5 million contract extension.

NFL Media reported that Wilfork's deal averages $7.5 million per year and includes $3 million guaranteed. The deal keeps the 32-year-old veteran in New England after he had requested his release in early March when the Patriots inquired about his willingness to restructure his contract.

Wilfork suffered a torn Achilles tendon and played in only four games last season. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound lineman has spent all of his 10 years in the NFL with the Patriots, totaling 469 career tackles and 16 sacks.

---Free-agent defensive end Shaun Phillips hooked on Thursday with the Tennessee Titans, reaching agreement on a two-year contract worth approximately $6 million.

According to the Tennesseean, the deal includes $2.5 million in guaranteed money.

Phillips is coming off a 10-sack season in 2013 with the Denver Broncos. Before that, he was with the San Diego Chargers for nine years.

---Quarterback Mark Sanchez passed his physical and will sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Multiple outlets reported the former New York Jets starting quarterback agreed to terms on a new deal. Sanchez was cut by the Jets last week. He missed all of last season after shoulder surgery but drew interest from several teams despite having 52 total turnoves in his previous two seasons as a full-time starter.

---A somber New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady saluted Boston firefighters who battled a nine-alarm blaze at a brownstone just doors down from his home Wednesday that killed two in the line of duty.

Brady was among those who watched the Back Bay fire and was photographed near the scene. He posted a message on Facebook on Wednesday night and spoke about what he saw and experienced in an interview on WEEI Thursday morning.

"We as athletes think that we're heroes, but when you witness firsthand what I saw yesterday, you realize who the real heroes are in this world," he said. "And that's the people that work hard to protect our lives and protect our safety, our freedoms in America, certainly the firefighters and Boston Police and the state troopers."

---Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,029 in cash and numerous bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on felony charges after being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving March 16, according to a police report.

Irsay had trouble standing, his speech was slurred and he admitted taking several medications. He agreed to take a portable breath test on the scene, but the results were redacted in police reports obtained by The Indianapolis Star.

The cash was found in Irsay's briefcase, wallet and two laundry bags, the report said. Police also found numerous bottles containing prescription drugs that were stored in the metal briefcase and in bags on the floor of Irsay's silver Toyota Highlander that he was driving.

---Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted Thursday that it's only a matter of time before Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder will be forced to changed the team's name.

"I think the name will be changed within the next three years," Reid (D-Nev.) told The Washington Post. "You know, I may slip a year or two, but I think it's just a question of time. Because Native Americans are organized. We have Native Americans who now are not all poor. We've got these Indian gaming establishments who have money, who are gonna help with this. And Dan Snyder's not the only person in the world with money. ... Snyder has to realize, he is on the losing side of history. And the sooner he does it, the better off we are."

---Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who is out of a walking boot, said Thursday that his surgically repaired foot "feels awesome."

"Surgery went really well. Foot feels awesome and rehab is up and rolling," he told The Tennessean. "Doctors were happy with how things looked so (I'm) just continuing to follow that trend."

Locker suffered the injury on Nov. 10 during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, had surgery shortly thereafter and the foot was placed in a cast. He discarded his crutches in January in favor of the walking boot, which he was still wearing earlier this month.

---Buffalo Bills team founder and owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. will be buried Saturday in his hometown of Detroit in a private funeral for the family, the team announced Thursday.

The team made the announcement two days after the 95-year-old Hall of Fame owner died at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich.

During his ownership, the Bills won two American Football League championships (1964-65) and, after the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, four straight AFC titles (1990-93) to reach the Super Bowl.

---Running back Knowshon Moreno agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.

Moreno, who met with the Dolphins last week, was an every-down back for the Denver Broncos last season. He rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 60 passes for 548 yards and three scores.

---At a pro day with a former U.S. President in attendance, Johnny Manziel was the main attraction Thursday. The former Texas A&M quarterback threw in front of dozens of NFL scouts and coaches. And he threw well. Very well.

The scripted 65-pass session was created by Manziel and his quarterback coach, George Whitfield, who has recently worked with top prospects in preparation for draft workouts, including Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Every snap Manziel took was under center -- he operated out of the shotgun primarily in A&M's spread offense -- and only two passes hit the ground. One was juggled by fellow first-round prospect wide receiver Mike Evans. One other throw took the receiver out of bounds so Manziel officially finished 62-for-65.

Overall there were 75 NFL scouts and evaluators in attendance, making up 30 of the 32 NFL teams, and former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara.

---The Washington Redskins re-signed unrestricted free agent cornerback E.J. Biggers. Financial terms of the one-year deal were not disclosed.

Biggers, 26, appeared in all 16 games for the Redskins last season, including five starts. The former Western Michigan star was a versatile defensive back during his first season in Washington, lining up inside and outside at cornerback and even seeing time at free safety. Biggers finished the season with 35 tackles and one interception.

---The Minnesota Vikings signed free agent offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

Ducasse, 26, spent the first four seasons of his career with the New York Jets. Ducasse, a second-round pick in 2010, appeared in 50 games for the Jets, making five starts. In 2013, the 6-foot-5, 325-pound Ducasse appeared in all 16 games and started the first four games of the season.

---A stadium advisory committee dubbed the New Stadium Working Group is being assembled by the Buffalo Bills and New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo with a stated goal of exploring the development and construction of a new stadium in Erie County.

The New Stadium Working Group will compise 21 members with seven each from the Bills, the State of New York and Erie County. As part of the lease agreement for Ralph Wilson Stadium, the group was formed to explore a new stadium, either on the same site or at another location in Erie County. A third option would be a "substantial renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium."

---Quarterback Matt Schaub took deep pay cuts when he joined the Oakland Raiders. USA Today reported that Schaub can make $8 million in 2014 -- $3 million less than his deal with the Houston Texans called for -- including a $3.5 million roster bonus in April and a $4.5 million fully guaranteed base salary.

In 2015, Schaub's base salary will be $5.5 million. That is a reduction from $13.5 million in salary and bonuses under his Texans' deal, which ran through 2016. The final year of the contract was removed by the Raiders. With incentives for playing time and performance, Schaub could make back more than $5 million, and has cap charges of $8 million in 2014 and $5.5 million in 2015.

---Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo signed a one-year, $11.455 million franchise tender for the 2014 season.

Orakpo has 39.5 sacks in 64 career games. The two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker needs just 4.5 more sacks to move into third place in Redskins history behind Dexter Manley (91) and Charles Mann (82).
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